Traditional heavyweights Across the Waves and Bingera shared the honours in the Football Wide Bay North Junior Grand Finals at Martens Oval, each winning two of the four age divisions.
Waves United triumphed against United Park Eagles (UPE) 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out in Under-16 after scores had been locked together at 3-3 at the end of extra-time, while in U13, their Hammers side nailed Brothers-Aston Villa Villians 6-2 with Queensland Junior Surf Life Saving Championships Beach dual Medalist Xavier Ulbl cutting loose with five goals.
Waves also reached the U14 finale with their Saints side, which had lost just one game all season, but they were ambushed by Bingera, who had come from fourth position, with Cameron Manski scoring his second goal with a free kick in the last play of the match to clinch a 3-2 victory.
In U12, there had been nothing between Bingera and Bargara Stingrays throughout 2021 with the Superstripes being unbeaten in their 16 matches to finish on top of the table but just one point in advance of the Stingrays, who lost only one game – to Bingera on 4th August.
The two outstanding young teams staged another titanic duel to be deadlocked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time, but Bingera finished the stronger in extra-time to grab a 4-1 victory with captain Zayde Kitching, whose father Brett who was one of Bundaberg’s best players throughout a long and distinguished career, finishing with a double.
In U16, the Waves United team included two of the top three leading Goal scorers in the competition, Golden Boot Lachlan Brown, who slotted a double plus converted his penalty kick to take his tally to 28 in 16 matches, and Blake Hunter who also converted from the spot.
Their other goal was scored by Brenton Catasti, who was also successful with his penalty shot, while captain Ryan Royall truly led from the front.
For keeper Sam Hodgkinson, who was a hero in the shoot-out, he got to experience the elation of victory after being part of the Waves team which was beaten by UPE Green 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out in the Division 1 Men’s Cup Preliminary Final the previous night.
Another of their many stars, Preston Cox, has also played 11 games for their Premier League and 20 for their Reserves Men’s Championship winning sides, and he backed up later in the day to again feature in their Qualifying Final victories over UPE 1-0 (Reserves) and Fraser Flames 4-0 ((Premier) respectively.
In U13, ATW Hammers had lost just one game all season, while Villa had scraped into fourth position on goal difference after winning just 5 of their 15 matches, before upsetting UPE 3-2 in the Elimination Final and ATW United 1-0 in the Preliminary Final.
Villa gave their all again, but Hammers simply had too many guns, with apart from Xavier’s bag of five goals, Nathan Saffioti, whose father and team coach Tony was a former long serving champion player for the club, also finding the back of the net, taking his season haul to 29, just one fewer than leading scorer Bowie Young, of ATW United.
Villa’s Cassius Amey, who scored one of their goals, received some consolation when he received the Player of the Grand Final award.
In U14, Cameron Manski’s double took his season goal total to 19, six fewer than top gun, Saints’ Tino Giovannoni, but despite his heroics, Superstripes’ multi-talented goal-keeper Chris Rudd was the Player of the Final.
In U12, apart from Zayde Kitching, Bingera’s side included two other sons of club greats with Beau Donnison and Brayden Jenner following in the footsteps of their fathers Andrew and Paul, and Cale Stayte, whose sharpshooter father Michael has excelled for a number of clubs throughout his career and is still a star for Brothers-Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Brayden and Cale were their other scorers in the decider, taking their season’s takings to 12 and 24 respectively.
While Bingera had finished on top of the table, Bargara Stingrays had scored 33 more goals than them with a WBN high of 110 and Goal Difference high of 94, and they also boasted the two leading scorers, Max Shuttleworth (33) and Slater Avenell (25).
But after also being beaten by Bingera 1-0 in the Qualifying Final a fortnight earlier, they were restricted to just one goal – scored by Slater – and Stripes’ Hugo Timms, a regular field player who took the gloves for the finale, did a superb job in goal, and was judged as the Player of the Final.
The four WBN grand final victors will meet the Wide Bay South winners in the Wide Bay Champions Cup on a bumper day at Martens Oval this Saturday.
Waves United and Hammers will suit up against Bayside Strikers at 12.30pm and Bayside Strikers Tornadoes at 11am respectively, while Bingera’s U14’s and U12’s will take on Sunbury Blues at 10.30am and Frazer Blaze at 11am respectively.